Der Tschingelhörner und das St. Martinsloch, Winter 2018. Foto/Photo: TES

Tektoniarena Sardona: the First Skyscrapers

Swiss cathedrals in Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Basel, Sion, or Chur (one of the oldest dioceses north of the Alps) show tall towers, but mountains are the country’s real skyscrapers.

Millions of years ago, the collisions of slabs of Africa and Europe created the Alps.

The Tectonic Arena Sardona (cantons of Glarus, St. Gall, and Graubünden) shows the formation process of these mountains.

Just below the ridge of the Tschingelhörner, at an altitude of 2,600 metres, opens the famous Martinsloch. This almost triangular opening, with a diameter of about 18 metres, was formed by the erosion of a fragile part of the rock.

Twice a year, the sun shines through the hole and illuminates the church tower of the village of Elm for 2 minutes. It then disappears behind the rock before rising above the ridge some 15 minutes later.

In 2008, UNESCO recognised these mountains as World Heritage sites (source: